Press release The Stoned Society
26 february 2015
AMSTERDAM – Today, a new cannabis regulation initiative to regulate the Netherlands’ “backdoor” coffeeshop policy has been introduced by D66 (Liberal Democrats), as reported by the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD) and Amsterdam newspaper Parool. The initiative however, as reported by the Union for the abolition of Cannabis Prohibition VOC Nederland (NGO), misses two huge opportunities: home cultivation and the Cannabis Social Club.
The cannabis regulation initiative is predicted to be introduced during the next coalition formation, but could play a huge role in D66’s alignment. In both cases the initiative could mean a breakthrough in the ossified repressive policies of Minister Opstelten of Security and Justice.
VOC Nederland notes with disappointment that the initiative leaves two important aspects unexposed. Although it facilitates the “backdoor” problem of the coffeeshops, it gives no basis to regulating the cultivation of cannabis through Cannabis Social Clubs. This non-profit, cooperative form of production, focusing on personal consumption of its members, can play an important role in the emancipation of rural consumers. In only one hundred of the 400 municipalities of the Netherlands are coffeeshops, in total no more than 616. In comparison, the number of sales of alcohol is estimated at 70,000, of tobacco at 60,000, while still being considerably more harmful drugs than cannabis.
In addition, the currently tolerated home cultivation of a very limited number of plants for personal consumption is not included in the initiative. This cultivation is about to be bizarrely criminalized by prosecution through passage of the so-called “growshop law“, making supplying (even water cans and regular soil) and preparations (electrical construction for example) illegal and punishable, depending on the size and personal vs commercial grows, by jail sentences up to 3 years. Passage of this “growshop law”, would grow the amount of Dutch citizens with potential criminal penalties disproportionally.
A statement by VOC Nederland spokesperson Derrick Bergman has been included below:
“In preparation of this law, VOC Nederland was able to contribute several times. We have always insisted on regulating both the “backdoor” of the coffeeshops, home cultivation and Cannabis Social Clubs, which clearly works in for example Colorado, Alaska and Uruguay. Cannabis Social Clubs are a common phenomenon in Europe. Why not in the Netherlands, for example, in the hundreds of municipalities without a coffeeshop?”
You can help out and support current Dutch cannabis activism simply by visiting the VOC-Nederland website and following @vocnederland on Twitter and/or Facebook page. Planning on coming to Amsterdam in 2015? Come around the 14th of June and make a stop at the 7th edition of the FREE festival organised by VOC Nederland “Cannabis Liberation Day 2015“, in support of Dutch cannabis & hemp activism.